Wild Lychee Tree
Scientific name: Amesiodendron chinense
Family name: Sapindaceae
Ames’ trees in Taman Tugu
This indigenous rainforest species is amongst the 4,100 trees added to the Taman Tugu site, selected in collaboration with Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (“FRIM”) and Malaysian Nature Society (“MNS”). It was selected as it is categorised as near threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (“IUCN”) due to over-exploitation of its strong, dense and valuable timber.
These trees are small to medium-sized and typically grows up to 30m with a dark grey nearly smooth bark, densely rounded canopy and pendulous branches. The young leaves emerge glossy red, aging to pinkish-orange, then green. The tree produces bright pink flushes at the beginning of the year which stands out among the mature, deep green in the forest. This monoecious species produces both male and female flowers on the same tree. The flowers are white, hairy on the margins and bottom surface. The flowers are produced at tips of branches in densely hairy clusters. It fruits, which are generally produced from August to November are of a coarse shell variety which mature to brown or black and are covered by small pale brown lenticels.
The strong dense wood is widely used for furniture-making.
This member of the lychee family is commonly found in the rainforests or monsoon forests of Malaysia, Sumatra, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and China. The species epithet ‘chinense‘ means ‘Chinese’, referring to its natural distribution in China.